Jude Hennessy

World Meeting of Families 2022—Opening Night Session

June 23, 2022
Reflection by Australian delegates Margaret and David Hill

We were amazed at the bravery of the families who presented testimony during the Festival of Families addressing his Holiness Pope Francis. The honesty of their testimony, notwithstanding the fact that they were not examples of “perfect” families, was unexpected and therefore showed the fact that marriage and family life is a “complex reality” (as described by Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Pope Francis). This shows that the Church is aware of the reality of the world today.

Through listening to these families, the pope gave them (and families like them) the dignity of being heard. For us as witnesses to this encounter, we share in the reality of some of the circumstances presented. However, the message that came through was that courage, forgiveness and prayer all play a role in dealing with the challenges of modern life.

The pope highlighted that we are limited​​—we can’t do it alone—but God helps us. And the family unit is key in providing this help. He also shared that the Church should be like the Good Samaritan, welcoming those who need our help despite their imperfections.

Forgiveness is about curing wounds, it is a gift of grace. The Holy Spirit can transform our lives so we can transform the world!

In referencing the family hosting the Ukrainian refugees, the Holy Father noted that welcoming is a gift from heaven. The example of this family is inspiring as they are opening their hearts and home even though it is a real sacrifice.

One quote that really struck us today was from Chiara: “God puts the truth in each one of us and it is impossible not to understand it.”

Margaret and David Hill are from St Luke’s Catholic Parish Revesby in the Archdiocese of Sydney and have been married for 25 years. They have three children.

You can watch a replay of the Festival of the Families Opening Night Session below:

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